Mumbai, May 24 (IANS): To aid the development of women in sports in India, HDFC Bank and GoSports Foundation have launched a scholarship to support national and international level women athletes and coaches in pursuing their dreams.
"Unstoppable - Karke Dikhaungi", a two-phase scholarship programme for women athletes and coaches, will provide yearly financial scholarships ranging from Rs 5-10 lakh on an average to athletes, and around Rs 5 lakh to coaches.
Along with supporting their competition and travel, training, equipment, coaching, and sports science requirements, the programme will work towards increasing equality and inclusivity in Indian sports by creating new women champions and role models for society.
The programme is inviting applications from deserving state-and-national level athletes across sporting disciplines - Olympic, Paralympic, Winter Games, and Motorsports. It aims to support a diverse set of athletes to help them achieve their sporting potential, it was informed at the launch on Tuesday.
Applications are open for a month from May 24 to June 24, 2022. Shortlisted athletes will be called in for internal evaluations and further shortlisting for the next stages. This would include feedback from coaches and experts, interview rounds, and due diligence. The selection process for athletes would take close to 100 days.
Finally, 20 athletes will be awarded scholarships and holistic support for their sporting journeys and crucial junctures in their careers. The top 100 shortlisted athletes, in the third round of this process, will have access to educational workshops on multiple pertinent topics throughout the year.
In the second phase of the programme, applications will be opened for coaches for yearly scholarships. Similar to athletes, they will be offered financial and non-financial support for their growth and development.
"As a socially responsible corporate we want to do our part to nurture sporting talent in the country," said Ashima Bhat, Group Head-CSR, Business Finance, and Infrastructure, HDFC Bank.
"Sports plays a critical role in the holistic development of the youth of our nation. In the absence of adequate resources and infrastructure to support these talented athletes, many are forced to drop out early in their journey.
"This programme is designed to eliminate some of these gaps so that our athletes and coaches could achieve excellence in their disciplines. It is our endeavour to discover talent and help them achieve greatness on the national and international stage," she added.
Deepthi Bopaiah, CEO of GoSports Foundation said, "Over the decades, there have been many special milestones created by women sporting champions, who have scripted history and have contributed towards changing stereotypes, breaking barriers and inspiring communities through sport.
"At GoSports Foundation, we have been fortunate to be a part of many such journeys over the last 13 years, through Bhavani Devi, Dipa Karmakar, Avani Lekhara and many more such champions. We are very excited to have HDFC Bank on board to launch a unique programme for young girls and women in sport, where we focus on their overall development in their respective sporting journeys. We are very happy to kick-start this programme and continue to change the script," she said.